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Information and statistics about the health of mothers and their babies is important for monitoring and evaluating the provision and outcomes of maternity services and care in Australia.

National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU)

The National Perinatal Epidemiology and Statistics Unit (NPESU) produces comprehensive statistics on mothers and babies. The NPESU is a collaborating unit of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and is based at The University of New South Wales. The NPESU manage several major national data collections.

Maternal and Perinatal data

The National Perinatal Data Collection (NPDC) is a national data collection of pregnancy and childbirth. The data are based on births reported to the perinatal data collection in each state and territory in Australia. Midwives and other staff complete notification forms for each birth. Each year, NPESU compile selected information into a national dataset.

The Perinatal National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) is a specification for perinatal data items for mandatory collection and reporting at a national level, and depends on a national agreement to collect the data in a uniform way. It includes data items relating to the mother, including demographic characteristics and factors relating to the pregnancy, labour and birth, and data items relating to the baby, including birth status, sex and birthweight.

Australia's mothers and babies report cover

NPESU's principal publications are the annual Australia's mothers and babies reports.

Other publications

All AIHW/NPESU's mothers and babies and perinatal health reports

Maternity Information Matrix (MIM)

NPESU is also involved in data development work. Recently the NPESU undertook a review of relevant Australian data collections to determine the current depth and breadth of maternal data capture in Australia. A key output of this was the Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) . The MIM is a collection of metadata for maternal and perinatal data.

The MIM includes:

  • Existing data
  • Existing data characteristics (e.g. scope, timeliness and data availability)
  • Current or potential data sources
  • Existing metadata and metadata custodians
  • Potential gaps or areas for improvement.

Current collaborative projects

National Maternity Data Development Project

AIHW and NPESU are working on a project to improve maternal and perinatal data. The aim of the project is to develop a nationally consistent and comprehensive maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity data collection in Australia. The project is guided by an Advisory group consisting of experts in the fields of obstetrics and midwifery, and statistics.

National Maternity Data Development Project Advisory Group (NMDD)

National Core Maternity Indicators Project 13283 report cover

AIHW and NPESU are working to develop a set of indicators to monitor the quality of maternity services across Australia. The specifications for 10 indicators have been finalised and endorsed by the heads of Australian Government and state and territory health departments. A report on baseline data for these 10 indicators has been published. Data are also available through an interactive data portal. Further indicators are under development for future implementation.

National core maternity indicators (report)

Interactive data portal Data portal icon 20px PNG

Related information

The AIHW also produces reports on the health, development and wellbeing of Australia's children.